Competency

About Competency
·         Knowledge, skill, ability, or characteristic needed to perform a function
·         Example: Grade 5 Science – The learner will make observations and conduct investigations to build an understanding of animal behavior and adaptation
Desire2Learn Competency Diagram

What is a Learning Objective?

·         Choose the specific assessments that best evaluate a given objective within individual courses/area of learning
·         Users can complete the same outcome many different ways – much more reflective on how learning takes place
·         Example: Grade 5 Science – Observe and describe how all living and nonliving things affect the life of a particular animal

What are Rubrics?

Rubrics provide an objective framework for evaluators to specify and evaluate specific requirements that users must demonstrate.

·         Create any number of rubrics within the system
·         Share rubrics with departments, courses, semesters
·         Track rubrics and receive detailed stats on rubric scores
·         Course and Program expectations become transparent to learners
·         Example: Grade 5 Science – Research Project on how Plants, Weather, and Climate affect Animals
Competencies are the measurable or observable knowledge, skills, abilities, and behaviors (KSABs) critical to successful job performance. Choosing the right competencies allows employers to:
·         Plan how they will organize and develop their workforce.
·         Determine which job classes best fit their business needs.
·         Recruit and select the best employees.
·         Manage and train employees effectively.
·         Develop staff to fill future vacancies.
Knowledge Competencies
Knowledge refers to the practical or theoretical understanding of a subject.
Knowledge requirements can be described in terms of mastery levels. The descriptions below outline mastery levels for the following job types:
1.      Professional Positions
2.     Clerical and Administrative Positions
3.     Managerial Positions

Professional Positions
Professional knowledge can be split into three levels: paraprofessional/technical, journey, and senior. Entry-level professional positions typically require journey-level knowledge at hire, with a plan to grow the skill level.
·         Paraprofessional/Technician-level: Knowledge of a profession’s basic principles, rules, equipment, and software. Knowledge is typically used in standardized processes.
·         Journey-level: Includes additional, in-depth knowledge of a profession’s legal standards, generally accepted principles, theory, and best practices. Knowledge is typically used to determine the best approach to solving a complex issue or problem.
·         Senior-level: Includes additional knowledge of a profession’s trends, research, and case law. Knowledge is typically used to create new strategies, standards, and processes.
Clerical and Administrative Positions
Clerical and administrative knowledge can be split into three levels: entry, journey, and senior.
·         Entry-level: Knowledge of clerical equipment and software, processes, techniques, and professional standards. Knowledge is typically used in routine office work.
·         Journey-level: Includes additional, in-depth knowledge of best practices and generally accepted professional standards. Knowledge is typically used to determine the best approach to solving moderately complex issues or problems.
·         Senior-level: Includes additional, in-depth knowledge of office management and business process trends, practices, and research. Knowledge is typically used to create new strategies, standards, and processes.

Managerial Positions
Some positions are ‘pure’ managers, while others combine line-staff and managerial duties. Regardless, if the position includes managerial duties, additional knowledge requirements should be identified. Knowledge requirements for managerial duties can be broken down as follows:
·         Lead Workers: Knowledge of basic employee performance management standards and practices (e.g., performance planning, coaching, and feedback).
·         Supervisors: Includes additional, in-depth knowledge of advanced employee performance management standards and practices (e.g., performance evaluation, recognition and reward, and corrective action and discipline).
·         Program Managers: Includes additional knowledge of resource management standards and practices (e.g., budget, equipment, facilities, and vehicles), and the authorizing environment (e.g., internal business partners and program customers).
·         Executive Managers: Includes additional, in-depth knowledge of the authorizing environment (e.g., external stakeholders, oversight boards and committees, legislative environment, and regulatory agencies).
 Skills and Abilities
A skill or ability refers to a natural or learned capacity to perform an act.
The names and descriptions of skills and abilities vary among skilled craft, clerical, paraprofessional, professional, administrative, and technical jobs. Likewise, entry, journey, and senior positions often require the same skills, but performed at different levels of mastery. Most mastery requirements fall into one of three categories:
·         Entry-level: Works under direct or general supervision. Uses skills and abilities to complete routine tasks at the beginning, growing toward tasks of increasing complexity.
·         Journey-level: Works independently with only general direction and minimal supervision. Uses skills and abilities to complete complex tasks, including deciding which processes to use.
·         Senior-level: Works independently with only administrative direction. Uses skills and abilities to complete highly complex tasks, including developing new processes and working with high profile customers and stakeholders.

Physical, Mental, and Sensory Characteristics
Some skills and abilities are tied to personal characteristics covered under state and federal discrimination laws and should not be divided into mastery levels without consulting human resource, vocational, or Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) experts.
Examples of such personal characteristics include:
·         Physical strength, including power, endurance, and speed.
·         Physical agility, including flexibility, balance, and coordination.
·         Sensory abilities, including sensitivity, perception, and clarity of vision, hearing, and smell.
·         Gross and fine motor skills, including movement control, finger dexterity, and reaction time.
·         Mental abilities, including memory, attentiveness, reasoning, and verbal, quantitative, and spatial aptitudes.
Behavior refers to a pattern of actions or conduct.
Behaviors are rarely broken down into mastery levels. Instead, they are typically evaluated in terms of consistent adherence to a set of behavioral standards. Lists of three to five behavioral standards are common.
Examples of behavioral competencies and associated standards include:
Customer Focus – builds and maintains customer satisfaction with the products and services offered by the organization.
·         Focuses on the customer’s business results, rather than own.
·         Seeks customer feedback and ensures needs have been fully met.
·         Delivers products and services when and where the customer needs them. Explores options when unable to deliver a requested product or service, and pursues solutions until the customer is satisfied.

Business Alignment – aligns the direction, products, services and performance of a business line with the rest of the organization.
·         Integrates executive direction into every decision and consultation.
·         Seeks to understand other programs in the department, including their services, deliverables, and measures.
·         Advocates for and positively represents other programs and services when working with customers and stakeholders.
Using Competencies
In Job Descriptions 
Job descriptions explain the duties, working conditions, and other aspects of a job, including the competencies needed to perform the job’s essential functions. Position-specific competencies are determined through the process of job analysis, and are documented in the Position Description (PD) form. These competencies form a basis for recruiting, hiring, training, developing, and managing the performance of employees.
In Recruitment, Assessment, and Selection 
Describing desired competencies in recruitment announcements gives job seekers a clearer picture of what jobs entail. Competencies also provide the foundation for assessment and selection techniques, including exams, interviews, and reference checks.
In Employee Performance Management 
Competencies allow supervisors to more fully describe to employees their performance expectations. Competency descriptions show employees what level of knowledge and skill mastery is required to successfully perform job duties, and what behavioral standards must be consistently demonstrated. Washington State’s Performance and Development Plan includes competencies in both the expectations and evaluation sections.
In Training and Development 
Done well, competencies allow supervisors to choose and prioritize training courses and other learning opportunities for employees. Training courses often describe the competencies students should be able to demonstrate by the end of the class. Likewise, most on-the-job and other developmental assignments are designed to build certain knowledge and skills. Knowing how class content and developmental activities build mastery helps supervisors to ‘map’ each position to a specific training and development plan that fosters growth in required competencies.
In Career and Workforce Planning 
Competencies play a key role in workforce planning efforts. Knowing which competencies the future workforce must possess to achieve business goals and deliverables helps organizations plan and design:
·         Organizational structure.
·         Recruitment strategies.
·         Training budgets and development plans.
·         Job assignments and individual performance plans.
Employees can also use competencies to plan a career path. Knowing which competencies are critical for certain promotions allows employees to request training and development opportunities and seek out specific feedback and coaching.
In Compensation 
Washington State‘s
 Compensation Plan is directly tied to the state classification system, which describes jobs in terms of the type and level of work performed. While competencies don’t directly impact compensation, the nature and complexity of the work duties usually requires a certain level of knowledge and skill mastery. These competencies are often represented in the class specifications as ‘Knowledge and Abilities.’ 

Competency FAQs 

What are competencies? How do they differ from KSAs or KSABs?
Competencies are measurable or observable knowledge, skills, abilities, and behaviors (KSABs) critical to success in a job.
·         Knowledge is the practical or theoretical understanding of a subject.
·         Skills and abilities are natural or learned capacities to perform acts.
·         Behavior is a pattern of actions or conduct.

How do I determine which competencies are important to a job?
Look first at the most critical duties and functions of a position. Determine the competencies needed to effectively perform those duties and functions. This process is called job analysis, and it provides information that can be used in recruitment, assessment and selection, employee performance management, and more. 

How many competencies should be identified for a job?
The number, type, and level of competencies depends on the nature and complexity of the work duties. All relevant competencies may be listed on the position description (PD) form or job analysis record. From the complete list, select competencies can then be used for recruitment, performance management, and training plans. 

What are ‘mastery levels’ and how I do I determine them?
Mastery levels are one way to further describe and evaluate competencies. They are not required, but may be helpful when the same knowledge or skill is needed for related jobs, but at different levels of depth, scope, or application.

For example, an entry-level job in a series may require general knowledge of policies, rules, and principles of a subject. The journey-level may also require knowledge of best practices and theory related to that subject. The senior-level may also require knowledge of emerging trends or case law related to that subject.
Knowledge and skill mastery levels are often determined by the level of independence, the complexity of issues addressed, the political sensitivity of key stakeholders, and the potential impacts of failure related to a job.
Unlike knowledge and skills, behaviors are typically not described or evaluated in term of mastery levels. Rather, a set of behavioral standards is described, and people are evaluated based on how consistently they demonstrate those standards.
Similarly, personal characteristics covered by state and federal discrimination laws should not be described in terms of mastery levels without consulting vocational and Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) experts.

Professional Knowledge Examples 


Accounts Payable (Technical Professional)
·         Paraprofessional / Technician Level: Basic knowledge of organization chart of accounts, accounts payable procedures, and accounting software and equipment.
·         Journey Level: Also, in-depth knowledge of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.
·         Senior Level: Also, in-depth knowledge of recent legislation, new case law, and developing accounting standards and practices.

Job Counselor (Service Professional)
·         Paraprofessional / Technician Level: Basic knowledge of interviewing techniques and principles, labor market trends, and job seeker support software and internet resources.
·         Journey-Level: Also, in-depth knowledge of public and private job seeker support organizations and systems, and legal and administrative requirements.
·         Senior-Level: Also, in-depth knowledge of research and trends in the areas of human behavior and interest and skill testing.

Auditor (Compliance Professional)
·         Paraprofessional / Technician Level: Basic knowledge of accounting principles, financial reporting standards, and accounting software and equipment.
·         Journey-Level: Also, in-depth knowledge of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, auditing principles and standards, and business and management standards.
·         Senior-Level: Also, in-depth knowledge of recent legislation, new case law, and developing financial reporting standards.
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